Women's Wrestling In Pittsburgh Has A Rich History, One That Will Open Another Chapter At MJ's Steel City Saloon Saturday

August 11, 2019
By Trapper Tom, Editor, KSWA Digest

For the first time in Keystone State Wrestling Alliance (KSWA) history, two women will lock up in singles action. The match is special for Imperial’s own Ray Lyn, who at one time in her career, worked at MJ’s Steel City Saloon. She will take on frequent foe Zoey Skye.

The two know each other quite well, and Ray Lyn has long looked forward to wrestling for Pittsburgh’s KSWA, in front of the Krazies, as well as those in and around her home town. Ray Lyn is arguably Pittsburgh’s most in-demand and traveled export. Featured on many television wrestling programs, Ray Lyn brings an experience and talent many fans enjoy. The always formidable Zoey Skye will bring all she has to spoil Ray Lyn’s homecoming.

Women’s wrestling in the KSWA has been few and far between in its revolutionary 19-year-history. Veronica Von Irons defeated Manic in the very first KSWA event on February 18, 2000 and Sara Brooks defeated Shawn Blanchard in an Intergender Match back in 2007.

The Women’s Wrestling Revolution started in Pittsburgh on January 23, 1970 when Pittsburgh’s own Donna Christanello and Rita Boucher defeated Paula Kaye and Toni Rose (two out of three falls) at the Pittsburgh Civic Arena.

The Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission had not permitted women to wrestle in the Commonwealth for nearly two decades. The tag team “Lady’s exhibition” was a winner for Donna Christanello and Boucher in 20:25. Nell Stewart and Carrol Cook wrestled at Forbes Field on September 14, 1950. Legendary Women’s World Champion Mildred Burke battled June Byers in Pittsburgh’s “The Gardens” to a sold-out audience. The State Commission adopted the ban on February 8, 1952.

Before Christanello’s official debut in Pittsburgh, she had been wrestling under the tutelage of World Champion The Fabulous Moolah. Some of her earliest matches were on 1965 cards featuring Bruno Sammartino, Gorilla Monsoon and others in hotbeds like Baltimore. In 1969, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette even featured a paragraph on Christanello winning a match in Australia.

In the 1980’s, Christanello’s niece Angie Minelli who also trained with Moolah, hit the scene. A serviceable professional, Minelli’s highest-profile contest was against then-new WWF Champion Sherri Martell in 1987. Both Christanello and Minelli are KSWA Hall of Famers.

Since that time, a new generation of Pittsburgh grapplers have hit the competitive landscape.

At August 5, 2018’s fundraiser for Lord Zoltan, well-traveled grapplers Laura Loveless and Honey Badger wrestled a match inside the KSWA ring; however, that entire card is not recognized as KSWA canon.

Now, Ray Lyn and Zoey Skye prepare to meet up for Pittsburgh’s official professional wrestling organization. The two wrestle for the KSWA at MJ’s Steel City Saloon on Saturday, August 17 as part of a huge card. For more information, call 412-726-1762.

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